MUHAMMAD SALEEM UMER has
assumed the office of the Chief Executive, Institute of Bankers Pakistan
(IBP) on October 01, 2003. Umer is a distinguished banker, a seasoned
trainer and an able administrator. Starting his banking career with
United Bank Limited (UBL), he has the rich experience of over 30 years.
In 1984, his services were requisitioned by the then Pakistan Banking
Council. From 1984 to 1998 he has worked with Economic Development
Institute (EDI) of the World Bank as Training Consultant and Activity
Director. During this period, he also remained closely associated with
the monumental work of the preparation of bilingual 'Glossary of Banking
and Finance' published by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and IBP. From
January 2001 to September 30, 2003 he remained associated with National
Institute of Banking and Finance (NIBAF), a subsidiary of SBP, as
Managing Director, Director General and Training Consultant. Aside from
full-time responsibilities, he has served on different high-level
committees, working groups and task forces in Pakistan and abroad. He
has also represented the Government of Pakistan in the Banking Committee
How do you explain the paradigm shift in commercial banking sector?
MUHAMMAD SALEEM UMER:
When I started my banking career more than 30 years ago, the key
responsibility of a bankers used to be deposit mobilization as the
demand for funds used to be much higher than supply. Now the commercial
banks have over-following deposits but quality borrowers are few. The
market conditions have changed from the sellers market to borrowers
market. To survive in the changed market, the banks need people with
entirely different mind-set, people who are innovative and come up with
financial products to cater to the changing needs of customers. Not only
that the banks have to recruit people having diversified skills but also
have to train the employees to attain new skills and offer regular
How the paradigm shift is changing the curriculum being followed by the
Institute of Bankers?
UMER: This can
be best described by 'Our Vision' and 'Our Mission'. Our Vision is 'To
be the premier financial sector knowledge institute of international
standard and repute' and Our Mission is 'To train and develop a sound
human resource base for the financial sector and to work for continuous
learning, adaptation and application of knowledge'. Initially, the IBP
used to conduct Banking Diploma Courses but now the institute conducts
courses for the entire financial sector. The format remains more or less
the same but the number of elective courses available has been increased
to cater to the needs of the sector. Not only that the IBP has developed
linkages and further expanding the linkages with the local universities
to change the curriculum being followed for MBA Finance and Banking.
What is being done to achieve the status of institute of international
standard and repute?
UMER: The IBP
is currently working with BVQI, French rating agency, to attain the ISO
certification. The gap analysis has been conducted and measures are
being taken to fill the gaps before the final audit. It is long drawn
process but the IBP wants to accomplish this difficult task before the
year 2004 ends. A lot of hard work, change in mind-set and
transformation is required but the IBP is determined to achieve the
status. The efforts have already started yielding results. The IBP has
been selected, through competitive bidding, by the International Finance
Corporation (IFC) to undertake a training of trainer programme. Faculty
has been selected to conduct the programme. Curriculum is being
developed and training material has been circulated through Pakistan
Banks Association (PBA) for soliciting the comments to further improve
it. The first programme has been scheduled in Karachi on April 12 and
Second programme will be held in Islamabad on April 19, 2004.
of the areas needing specific and urgent attention is developing skills
to enhance lending the SMEs. What is being done by the IBP to address
the financial institutions in Pakistan have been dealing with corporates
and following collateral based lending. Lending to small and medium
enterprises (SMEs) is entirely a different ball game, requiring the
different skills and different mind-set. The mind-set is not only an
issue of lenders but that of borrowers also. A better understanding has
to be developed between the lenders and borrowers. The IBP is also
working in this area. Very shortly some discussion programmes will be
held in collaboration with the Small and Medium Enterprise Development
Authority (SMEDA) to address the issue.
What are your comments about 'dying commercial banks and emerging
financial super markets'?
concept is not new but being discussed since seventies. As I have said
earlier, commercial banks were operating in sellers market in the past.
With the fast changing working environment they are also changing. They
wish to become financial super markets to cater their customers better.
They want to build upon their relationship with existing business
partners as well as to serve future customers in a better manner.